Friday, March 9, 2012

The Hotel Ambassador

The Hotel Ambassador designed by Warren & Wetmore c. 1919 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Click HERE for a 1919 NYTimes article on the grand opening. The hotel was one of the sites of the 1930 Atlantic City Conference held by some of the country's most notorious gangsters including Charlie Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, John Torrio, Frank Costello, Albert Anastasia, Al Capone and Atlantic City's own Enoch Johnson among many others. In 1931 the bootlegger Mickey Duffy was shot to death while staying at the hotel (portrayed as the character Mickey 'Doyle' Kuzik in HBO's Boardwalk Empire). In 1978 the hotel was purchased by Ramada with plans to renovate the building but were required to strip the structure down to the steel and completely rebuild in 1981. Today it operates as the Tropicana Casino & Resort.

Photos from Architecture & Building, 1919.


Anonymous said...

What reason required the owner to strip the building to the steel? The Tropicana is a run down and tired looking hotel on the Boardwalk these days. Long gone is the very best of Atalantic City, the Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel.

Zach L. said...

From the wikipedia article on the Tropicana:

"In 1978, Ramada purchased the former Ambassador Hotel building for $20 million, planning to renovate the property and convert it into a 546-room hotel and 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) casino with amenities including a 1,200 seat theater and a 1,000 seat ballroom.

Executives at Ramada were forced to alter their plans when their design was denied by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission and Governor Brendan Byrne, as both did not want casino operators doing "patch and paint" jobs, instead they preferred the companies building new properties from the ground up. Ramada was ordered to demolish the former hotel and start from the ground up, but the company threatened to appeal the decision in court and an agreement to only use the steel framework of the Ambassador was reached."

The Down East Dilettante said...

Gadzooks, how stupid are the casino commission and Governor Byrne?

One man's "patch & paint" is another man's award-winning historic preservation effort.

Anonymous said...

The governor had deals with the construction industries and their unions.

Greg said...

I spent a couple of nights at the Ambassador with my parents back in December of 1965. It was in need of renovation by then but you could tell it had been a grand old hotel in it's time. It's a shame they didn't renovate it as it was originally.